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Posts Tagged ‘decision-making’

How Good Intentions Become Bad Decisions

Friday, June 14th, 2013

The reasons listed below are excuses we all use for not speaking out when we have concerns about a decision— concerns that can range from slight uncertainty to strong objection. Failing to speak out, however, prevents the group from hearing our true beliefs. Bad decisions are often made because of the “inaccurate data” groups receive from individuals who withhold their honest feedback. (more…)

Since Nothing Is Wrong, Can We Assume Everything is Right?

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

By John McGuinness

Making assumptions is bad, right? The standard answer is ‘yes,’ because most of us have had those moments when we made a decision based on a certain assumption, and then discovered the decision turned out to be wrong because our assumption was wrong. Not good. And to make matters worse, the person pointing out our mistaken assumption probably also felt the need to become a linguist and write out “assume” as a three syllable word on a nearby white board. (Unfortunately, we know the punch line to that one.) (more…)

Activity: Open- or Closed-Leadership Style?

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

(25 MINUTES)

1.) Make copies of the Worksheet below and distribute to the participants.

2.) Ask them to list ten attributes of a leader or manager in their organization. List both what they feel are “good” and “bad” attributes as well as those they may consider neutral. As an option, if participants are from a single organization or department, you may direct them to evaluate the same leader or a manager. Or, if desired, they may use this exercise to evaluate their own leadership style or that of their own manager.

3.) When completed, have the participants put a checkmark in the circle by the left of those attributes that characterize an open-leadership style that includes free discussion, non-judgmental attitudes, and acceptance of divergent thinking. Have them put a checkmark in the box to the right by those attributes that characterize a closed-leadership style, one that includes tightly-controlled discussion, highly-defensive posturing and lack of tolerance of divergent thinking in favor of consensus.

4.) Total up the number of checkmarks on the left and give ten (10) points for each, but give minus ten (-10) points for each checkmark on the right. Add, or subtract, to reach your final score. Note that neither a completely open- nor closed-leadership style is ideal. A score of –40 to –100 indicates a highly closed-leadership style which may inhibit all but the most aggressive group members from expressing their true feelings. A score of –20 to –40 indicates a moderately closed-leadership style which may be conducive to rapid decision making, but may leave the group susceptible to the effects of groupthink. A score of +40 to +100 indicates a highly open-leadership style, which may be ineffective, because without direction from the leader, the group may be unable to reach decisions at all. An ideal score would be +20 to +40 indicating a moderately open-leadership style, which may be effective in reducing the effects of groupthink.


Leadership Style – WORKSHEET

The leader’s style can have a lot to do with how group decision-making is conducted and, therefore, whether there is a likelihood that groupthink can gain a foothold or not. In the box below, list ten characteristics, both positive and negative, of a leader or manager in your organization. As an option you may use this exercise to evaluate your own leadership style.

When completed, put a checkmark in the Ο by the left of those attributes that are open, such as “allows free discussion”, “has non-judgmental attitude”, or “loves to brainstorm”. Put a checkmark in the � to the right of those attributes that are closed, such as “tightly controls discussion” or “defends his/her ideas vigorously”.

 Attributes of _____________’s Leadership Style

Ο __________________________________________ □

Ο __________________________________________ □

Ο __________________________________________ □

Ο __________________________________________ □

Ο __________________________________________ □

Ο __________________________________________ □

Ο __________________________________________ □

Ο __________________________________________ □

Ο __________________________________________ □

Ο __________________________________________ □


SCORING
: Total up the number of checks on the left and give ten (10) points for each, but give minus ten (-10) points for each checkmark on the right. Add, or subtract, to reach your final score. Note that neither a completely open-nor closed leadership style is ideal. A score of –40 to –100 indicates a highly closed-leadership style which may inhibit all but the most aggressive group members from expressing their true feelings. A score of –20 to –40 indicates a moderately closed-leadership style which may be conducive to rapid decision making, by may leave the group susceptible to the effects of groupthink. A score of +40 to +100 indicates highly open-leadership style which maybe ineffective because without direction from the leader, the group may be unable to reach decisions at all. An ideal score would be +20 to +40 indicating a moderately open-leadership style which may be effective in reducing the effects of groupthink.

Excerpted from the Leader’s Guide for the video program Groupthink.

Training Resource: CRM Learning’s best-selling program, Groupthink, shows how bad decisions can be made when teams fail to fully discuss potential risks.

Ethical Dilemmas – Group Activity

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

In most workplace situations, there is a clear-cut right way or wrong way to act.  However, we occasionally run into ethical scenarios where there are positive aspects to two differing actions and we are left with a dilemma.  These “competing rights” situations can be extremely stressful.

Here are a few examples:
It’s right to communicate information that might help other people…
But it’s also right to respect the confidentiality of information if you have agreed to do so.

It’s right to follow through on commitments you’ve made…
But it’s also right to address a higher priority task that suddenly needs to be completed.

In this exercise, your group will think about situations where there are conflicting rights and develop strategies for resolving them.

Set up the Activity
Break the group into several smaller groups of 2-3 people and have each small group work on one of the following situations (or have them come up with one of their own).

• Going to work when you’re obviously sick and possibly contagious.
• Telling an insecure co-worker (or subordinate) their work is good when it is not.
• Voicing support for a decision you don’t really believe in because everyone else is in favor of it and there is no more time for discussion.
• Ignoring a subordinate’s chronic tardiness because the employee has a troublesome home life and you figure they’ve got enough to deal with.

(See “Key” below for the conflicting rights in these situations.)

Review the Situation
For the issue they’ve selected, ask each group to discuss and take brief notes on:
• What are the competing “rights” in this scenario?
• What rationalizations might someone make in this situation? (Examples might include, “It’ll just be easier this way”, “It’s not that big a deal.”, “I don’t have time…”
• What outside influences might be in play?

Note: You may want to explain that influences can either be “supporting” (i.e. they help us make ethical choices– such as a manager who consistently demonstrates high integrity) or  “distracting” (i.e. they potentially lead us toward unethical behavior—such as an emphasis on meeting a quota at all costs.)

At this stage, do not have the groups come up with a solution or final decision.

Resolve the Dilemma
Explain to participants that—as they have just seen– in the case of conflicting rights, both choices may be ethical to some extent, but one is a better choice than the other.  Dilemmas typically have “better” answers, but the decision process can be tough.

Introduce the following three steps to resolving ethical dilemmas:
1) If possible, eliminate the conflict. (Seek permission to grant an exception, make a special case, or otherwise change the conditions.)

2) Decide what’s more right. (Ask which option is most in line with laws or organizational values?  Which provides the greatest benefit for the largest number of people? Which sets the best precedent for guiding similar decisions in the future?)

3) Seek Assistance. (Run the situation past your manager, HR or anyone who can listen and provide objective feedback.)

Have each group revisit their dilemma and apply these 3 steps to their decision making process. What would their suggested course of action be?

Debrief
Ask a representative from each group to describe the course of action they decided on, and the rationale behind it.

Key for Instructors:
For each of the situations your group will work with, here is a little more information on the answers you might look for.
Example 1) It’s right to want to meet deadlines and keep the organization from being short-handed, but it’s also right to stay home when you’re sick so you will get well faster and avoid infecting others.
Example 2) It’s right to protect a co-worker’s feelings (especially when the person is insecure) but it is also right to make sure people know when their work is falling short so they aren’t misled into thinking they’re doing fine.
Example 3) It’s right to be supportive of a team decision, but it’s also right to make sure people know where you truly stand on an issue.
Example 4) It’s right to empathize with people who are having personal troubles, but it’s also right to keep the workplace fair.


Activity based on a section of the Leader’s Guide for the CRM Learning program
Ethics 4 Everyone.

Need help in this area? Ethics 4 Everyoneis a proven training program for teaching people how to handle a variety of workplace ethics situations including the ones that fall into that tricky “grey area.”


 

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